And here we are. The ewige werk really is vollendet.
The gansey’s been pinned out on its drying boards for the best part of week while Margaret and I took it in turns to keep watch with a shotgun and blast to smithereens any moths which dared approach. Today it was time for the cardification to begin.
As my role in this was limited to wielding the shears for the waiting reporters, much like a lord mayor cutting the ribbon on opening a new landfill site, credit for the rest of the process goes to Margaret. (Rumours that she initially locked herself in her room and refused to come out, shouting through the keyhole “I’ll get you for this, Reid” and “You can’t make me”, until lured out with pieces of ginger coated in dark chocolate are, of course, completely unfounded.)
So, it’s over to her:
|Front detail, on the blocking squares. What’s that ripply pleat thing, you ask? Well if it weren’t there, the front would be larger than the back. So to make the front nicely blocked, the back would have to be overblocked. The pleat takes up the excess in the front, making for balanced blocking.
|A closeup of the pleat. It was roughly basted with another colour of gansey wool.
|The Zipper. Despite commenters’ good opinions of my perspicacity, I didn’t start looking for a zipper until the gansey was nearly done. Many hours legwork and internet searching later, I found transparent zippers with chunky teeth. Regular dressmaking zippers were too wussy for a jacket, chunky teeth are more appropriate. Unfortunately chunky teeth zippers only come in about 5 colours, none of them remotely like the colour of this gansey.
||The pleat has been unbasted and the very centre has been marked with pins.
||The first row of stitching commences. The plan is to stitch two rows then cut between them. Cutting then stitching would probably lead to stretched-out edges. My sewing machine has a fancy pseudo-overlock stitch. Zigzag or three-stitch zigzag would probably work just as well, or a few rows of fine straight stitching if your machine can’t zigzag.
|The first row of stitching, to the right of centre.
||And the second row of stitching.
||An overall view of the two rows of machine stitching.
|And a slightly more close-up one.
Let the cutting commence!
|Nearly to the end . . . it wasn’t scary at all. Much.
|Yes, it really did get totally sliced up the middle.
||The back of the machine stitching. The colour of the bobbin thread doesn’t really matter as it won’t be seen when the zipper installation is finished.
||The first side folded over and basted down. Two stitches from the steek will form the zipper placket, and the rest is folded underneath. The zipper will be stitched along the column of purl stitches.
|Now both sides have been folded and basted. I’ve used a doubled length of yellow rayon machine embroidery thread. It’s visible and is smooth for easy removal. It does kink up alot though.
||The zipper basted in place. The two protruding ends of the zipper tape will be folded and stitched down later.
||Oops! We cut some of the machine stitching. No worries, I just machine stitched over it again.
|Everything basted in place. You’d hardly know there was a zipper in there.
||Sewing the zipper in, by hand. Doing it by machine just didn’t seem right somehow. For one thing, hand stitching is more flexible than machine stitching. And machine stitching might leave a more definite seam. I used a darning needle, a single thickness of the sweater yarn, and a running stitch.
||The back side of the zipper showing the stitches. Here I’m securing the zipper tape and seam allowance with herringbone stitches, using a sharp needle and sewing thread. One stitch in the zipper tape, then one stitch in the body of the gansey. Where possible, I’m catching the backs of purl stitches.
|A shot to show why I’m securing the zipper tape. It’s nice and smooth(-ish) on the right where it’s stitched down, but it’s ripply on the left.
||The zipper installed.
||And a close-up view. The zipper pull is a bit naff but I should be able to change it. It’s also plastic so I don’t expect it to last too long.
So, in brief:
Materials: Sewing thread in a sorta matching colour; bobbin thread in any colour; smooth basting thread in a contrasting colour; yarn from the gansey; 22″/55 cm transparent open-ended zipper with chunky teeth; a blocked gansey
Tools: Sewing machine preferably with zigzag stitch; sewing needle for basting and herringbone stitching; darning needle for installing zipper; scissors (sharp dressmaker’s shears will be easiest).
1. Sew two rows of stitching up the centre.
2. Cut between the two rows of stitching. Yes, you can do it.
3. Fold the raw edges under and baste them, using a sharp needle and smooth thread.
4. Place the right side of the unzipped zipper face up under the right side of the gansey. Starting from the bottom up, baste in place, using the sharp needle and smooth thread. The folded edge should be at the centre of the zipper. Repeat for the left side of the zipper.
5. Sew the zipper in place, starting from the bottom up, using the darning needle and gansey yarn. Why from the bottom up? If it’s really crap it’ll be less noticeable at the bottom, and by the time you get to the neck you’ll have had lots of practice. Fold down the protruding ends of the zipper tape and sew them in place. Occasionally run the zipper pull up and down to make sure your stitches aren’t obstructing the teeth.
6. Sew down the zipper tape and gansey seam allowance using a sharp needle, matching thread, and a herringbone stitch.
7. Carefully remove the basting threads.
8. Open the zipper.
9. Put your left arm in the left sleeve and your right arm in the right sleeve.
10. Zip up the zipper.
Caveat: This is the way I did it – but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it. YMMV.